It's time to see who took 2nd place in this year's Vodafone 24 - our createathon competition that tasks teams of students to invent something amazing...
What is Vodafone 24? It’s our unique createathon competition that sees teams of university students battle it out to come up with a new product or service for the mobile space – all within 24 hours. The second Vodafone 24 has finished and we’ve already seen the entry that bagged third place, so now it’s time to take a look at the idea that won its creators the silver medal.
The return of the one-day createathon
Vodafone 24 gives teams of students just 24 hours to invent something brilliant. With the second ever competition all done and dusted, we’ve been getting the inside story…
– Click here to find out more
We’ve been talking to team Pronto member Georgina Daniell to find out what their product was, how it came about, and what the competition taught them…
“Our team is made up of three of us who are at uni together – Eerik, Ida and I – and then another friend of mine from school, Meg, who is currently at Bath University. To be completely honest,” Georgina explains, “our team name was a bit of a rushed affair. Bryan Hill at Vodafone posted in the Facebook group saying the first 40 teams to enter would get some free goodies, so we rushed to it, and that’s how the name Pronto came about!”
But why did they enter? What was the appeal? “It was flagged up in one of our uni careers newsletters, and I thought I had some friends who would be very good at it. Of course, as soon as I mentioned it, everyone was on board pretty quickly, the opportunity to win an iPad while messing around with off the wall ideas with your friends doesn’t come around that often, so it wasn’t hard to persuade them.
“Our entry was a game which can aid the diagnosis of diseases from microscope images. The two most prominent diseases that this is relevant to are Malaria and Cancer. We found that Malaria can take up to half an hour of a medical professional’s time to diagnose,” Georgina says, “but actually the mechanism behind the diagnosis is quite simple. It’s effectively a game of ‘Where’s Wally’ except you are looking for specific shapes and colours on the slide.”
“What we proposed is that microscope images are anonymously uploaded, they are then broken up into chunks of image, small enough to fit on a smartphone screen. We then use the magic that is ‘gamification’ and ‘crowdsourcing’, to get thousands of people to look at these images while playing a really fun and hopefully addictive game. It may seem as though this could lead to a large number of misdiagnoses, but in reality, studies have shown that with 1 minute of training, and a clever algorithm, by combining the results of 11 people’s answers, the result is actually statistically better than that of a trained physician.”
You can see the whole project here:
“This, we hope, could have huge implications in both developing and developed countries,” says Georgina. “In developing countries this would allow trained professionals to spend more time with patients and less time looking down microscopes, alleviating some of the strain on medical resources. And in developed countries, we hope that this would make regular screening for Cancer a normal procedure for everyone, aiding early diagnosis and therefore saving lives.”
Long distance relationship
Getting such a great idea together and out the door in just 24 hours is no easy task, and – like all the Vodafone 24 teams – Pronto had a couple of big challenges to face:
“There were two parts that I would say really stretched us to our limits,” Georgina explains. “The first was that, as it happened, Eerik was in Tallinn, Estonia, at the time. As you can probably imagine, keeping team spirit and motivation high throughout the night, while almost 2000km away from each other, is not an easy task, especially at 5am!
“We always planned to spend quite a long time planning but after a couple of hours, panic started to set in.”
“The second part was actually about two or three hours in when we had brainstormed through a couple of ideas but knew we hadn’t had a winning idea yet. We always planned to spend quite a long time planning but after a couple of hours, panic started to set in, and when our idea finally came along we don’t know if it was even good or whether we’d just lost motivation to carry on brainstorming.”
Whatever the reason, team Pronto definitely learned a fair bit – both about themselves and about us at Vodafone:
“We’ve learned that an idea can come from any small grain of knowledge, and we all have the knowledge to come up with great ideas – we just rarely sit down with the aim of innovation. The other thing it highlighted is actually how much we didn’t know about each others’ talents as a team. One of us would be panicking saying ‘What are we going to do about a logo? None of us know how to do that!’ and another would turn around, out of the blue and say ‘Well I have designed a couple of logos before, I might be able to give it a go’.
“Likewise with Vodafone, before this competition I wouldn’t necessarily have associated Vodafone with innovation. But knowing it gives such focus to creativity definitely makes it a place I’d like to work.”
Who came 1st? Keep it locked to Vodafone Social to find out who took the top spot. For more information on the Vodafone 24 createathon, click here.